An ugly sweater party turns into a bloodbath when an evil Christmas sweater possesses one of the partygoers.
There are only a handful of scenes from horror films released in 2018 that will really stay in my memory. Olga’s scene in Suspiria, Charlie’s scene in Hereditary, and finally one of the first scenes in the new horror comedy, Ugly Sweater Party in which Jody (Hunter Johnson) shaves his balls as chunks of pubic hair fall into the bowl of cereal he has on the floor. Yes, Ugly Sweater Party reaches those dizzying heights of high concept humor 5 minutes into the film. So you pretty much know you are in for a masterpiece.
Don’t worry Jody never returns to his bowl of cereal, which is an earmark of the clever writing here. Along with a string of setups that never pay off, we are also treated to such comedic gold as fecal humor, farts, homophobia, and really bad puns. Let’s be clear, I am not knocking writer-director Aaron Mento for getting distasteful. Far from it, but if you insist on going low, you can still be clever. Just ask Mel Brooks.
“…they were supposed to wear bad sweaters. They steal one from a hitchhiker…possessed by a nasty psycho killer…”
Okay, so Jody and his roommate Cliff (Charles Chudabala), head out to a campground for the titular party when Jody realizes that they were supposed to wear bad sweaters. They steal one from a hitchhiker that just happens to be possessed by a nasty psycho killer named Declan Rains (Sean Whalen offering the only bright spot in the film). Cliff dons the sweater and ergo, he is now possessed.
The two arrive at Camp Mandix (see what they did there?) to discover that this is a bible camp and the girls that invited them are the naughty preacher’s daughters. In the vein of a good 80’s sex comedy, the whole goal is the have sex with these two girls while Cliff keeps randomly murdering people so that Declan can amass enough power and fully emerge from the spirit realm.
I can honestly say that there were no scares, nor any laughs to be had in this supposed horror comedy. There is, however, a C-plot in which the groundskeeper of the camp loses his mind to the tune of a heavy metal band that plays live, in his cabin. There are long stretches of the film that plays like a music video for this serviceable metal group. It’s an odd choice, but with a runtime just over 80 minutes, you could tell they were looking for padding.
“…Cliff keeps randomly murdering people so that Declan can amass enough power…”
It is never really that fun putting down the work of a group of people that obviously put some amount of work into a piece. It’s clear that this team of creatives had a wonderful time shooting the film, as indicated by the behind the scenes credits sequences, but at least let your audience in on the damned jokes.
Ugly Sweater Party has achieved the status of landing in my bottom 10 movies of the year. Thankfully films like these often tend to achieve cult status over time. So, I mean, there’s that. The only two things keeping this from being a total stinker are character actor Sean Whalen’s presence and yet another catchy theme song for a crummy movie.
Ugly Sweater Party (2018) Written and directed by Aaron Mento. Starring Hunter Johnson, Sean Whalen, Charles Chudabala.
2 out of 10 stars